LOS ANGELES — Finally there was some good news.
Dennis Schroder, the Los Angeles Lakers’ starting point guard, returned as did some of the Lakers’ mojo, the team snapping out of a losing streak thanks to a dominant defensive performance in a 102-93 win against the Portland Trail Blazers.
It was the Lakers’ first win against a team currently in the top eight of its conference since Feb. 4.
After missing the last four games because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols after exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, Schroder returned at a perfect time, the Lakers needing help wherever they could find it.
“He’s such a complete player, a two-way player. He’s an elite defender so I think we certainly missed him on that side of the ball with his containment ability, but also just picking up full court and setting that tone,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said before the game. “But his ability to get to the paint and generate shots for others and score the basketball was missed as well.”
And for a team that had been somewhat dragging while mired in a losing streak, any good news had to help.
Schroder was rusty, missing his first two shots before getting back on track to score six of his 22 points in the fourth quarter.
And whether it was his return, the light minutes in a blowout loss at Utah or the team saying “enough” after a season-long losing streak, the Lakers looked like a team finally getting some footing.
While Anthony Davis is still on the bench in street clothes, and will be through the All-Star break and more, the team finally made good on Vogel’s claims that it had enough “firepower” to win.
Through three quarters the Lakers had nine steals and seven blocks (James alone had four steals and three blocks) while keeping Portland in total control until a minor run late in the third.
James finished with 28 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Lakers.©2021 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.